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  CSPAN    Today in Washington    News/Business. News.  

    July 9, 2013
    6:00 - 9:01am EDT  

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>> we have created just over 3000 manufacturing jobs each month over the last year. at the current rate it will take as 41 years to get back to the number of people working in manufacturing that we had in december 2007. and it ain't going to get better. it's going to get worse. between december 2007 and
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december 2014 when we will theoretically get back to the same level, the workforce will have grown by 12 main people. there's no job. some kid gets out of school with a degree and they selected to get a job at every step. some mom reenters the workforce, kids on the school and she renders the workforce, no jobs available. some veteran gets out of the military and there are no jobs. both parties have economic challenges and both parties need to have a robust debate internally about what they propose to do about it. i think mike is right. it needs to be inside the lid expensive most americans. the idea that this has somehow been settled by what has happened over the last five years, you know, don't believe me. go read about jim mussina going to the president in march and april of 2012 and saint mr. president, we can't win on the basis of what you done. we talked about the stimulus and
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people barf. we talk about economic recovery and people say what recovery? we can't win on the basis of your record. we are to take one-fifth of our campaign funds and go to mitt romney and we call it the grand bet because if it doesn't work we do have money or time to try something else. that's not a winning message. as democrats we won this debate. it's very much up for grabs and is going to be determined i think in the next three or four years. >> flush that out both elaine and michael. if you're karl rove in the next election, what's the platform you want your candidate to run? just give bullet points. what are two or three policy with things. williston negative sites to campaign, and became really wants to talk about something. candidates want to talk about what they will do is they get elected. what would you tell a candidate if you are their campaign manager that he or she should run on as a basic platform on economic and domestic policy going into the 2014 election?
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>> i think republicans have a disadvantage. i'm sure those will agree and some will not. i come from kentucky. i lived in new york. i lived in california. there are people, believe it or not there's a whole swath of the country that does not agree with california and new york. they are actually quite vocal and increasingly so. i think it's interesting, we've got to put it in perspective. both parties, if you take the long-term point of view, there will be differences. and there will be ups and downs in fortune. i think the republican party is looking at itself very, very seriously, very intently. i think republicans felt very intensely for loss of 2012. so that they know that something needs to be done but as we just heard here, there's a lot of different opinions as to what is really going on. as for me, because i'm focused on jobs and employment i think
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that is very relevant. in all the polls that is still the number one issue. it may receive here and there but it's an overwhelming issue and i think karl will address that as well. we need to speak about these issues with compassion. and sometimes we don't, the republicans, do not speak with a voice of compassion. and i think that needs to be improved. i think there needs to be more outreach to groups of color, we're not doing that. but i think the economic message is still pretty set, but that's also the vantage and the problem. because how many times can you talk about tax cuts? no, times can you talk about taxation, regulations, and too much spending? the message is simple that he gets boring after a while. even though it is totally true. so i think, i'm in no position to offer advice. you've got too much greater mine
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sure. >> the basics and get a state in a way that is appealing. that has to be much more outreach to the people that we're trying to reach. >> same question. eric cantor is going to be here today or tomorrow. what would you say that eric should advise his caucus and candidates to talk about in the next election? >> well, there's a fundamental previous decision you have to make. the question right now is does the republican party need to motivate its coalition or modify its coalition? you always have to motivate your coalition when you're going to election. that's necessary. you can't get rid of it and start over it. the question is whether you need to modify it in some significant ways. i think there are some good reasons you need to. demographic change, generational change, the problems with working-class voters. that to me requires a governing vision that includes everyone.e
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people you know aren't going to vote for your. because it shows you care about the whole. you're not representing a faction with your -- within your own coalition. you're representing the country and its needs. it's the reason when we were involved in the campaign in 2000, when one of the presidents first, candidate bush his first speeches he gave, he specifically criticize the idea that politics has no higher purpose, no critical than leave us alone. that was a criticism that we made to prove this point. >> that's a criticism you snuck into the speech. [laughter] >> we could've been a little more artful in that one speechmaking our play. >> governing vision matters. but then the republican party has to offer, i think through the symbolic policy, needs to communicate, we did it. we know there's a problem. and the problem on immigration,
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just to be blunt about it, is not that republicans have not been outreach in the last couple of decades. it is that an element of the party had set out to alienate, positively alienate, the hispanic community in proposition 187, in the arizona law, in defeating the bush comprehensive immigration reform, in talking about self deportation. the message here, that requires some kind of shock therapy. it has to say we understand that this has been on the wrong track. that's the reason that immigration reform i think is an important symbol for the republican party. it's not enough. then yo you have to dress peopls real-world econ d that's an entt set of issues. i would also say there are some of the issues where you can communicate, we're taking a different approach. i mean, in an essay that it did for commentary, we said why don't you take on the
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concentration of power in the big banks or corporate welfare or other things to symbolize that you're not on the side of the corporate culture? that you are actually on the side of individual entrepreneurship and social mobility and other things. i write for friday for tomorrow on the issue like prison reform. that is an interesting issue where libertarians are concerned about 2 million people in prison, okay, as vast mass incarceration. evangelicals have a committed during concerned with ministries and others, with prisoners. liberals are concerned about the racial implication. why can't republicans pick some issues like that the show we are different, we're changing? perfectly within the bounds of our coalition, perfectly within the bounds of our ideology but show the kind of creativity that says we did. we are shifting and changing. i'll conclude by saying parties
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when wind they are, when it comes to the point where they say we're tired of losing. democrats a did that in 1992 with bill clinton where they gave their nominee the leeway to do unexpected outreach on welfare and crime and other issues in order to reposition his party and shift their coalition. republicans did that with george w. bush in 2000. they trusted him on the essentials of tax policy and other things, and then they gave him the leeway with compassion conservatives. the question here is whether republicans right now are in that place or whether they will have to take another laws in order to reach that place. >> i have a slightly different view than my 2000 college. i don't think they give them leeway. i think they liked him. i think that's the recognition.
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ordinary rock rib republican primary voters -- rand paul is doing this. when rand paul says we need to go campaign, we need people with tattoos, it strikes a hopeful note among people who may not agree with his views on foreign policy for example. so i think one of the things is that in 2000 we constantly have this conversation, people said that's kind of risky but having bush emphasized compassionate conservative. people rally to it. how is paul ryan, who represents a district that was carried twice by clinton, by al gore and twice by obama, how did he get elected with 60% of the vote? because he had an optimistic pro-growth message that is not the typical republican message, and he talks about it endlessly in every community in this district. if you're an auto worker or jane
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so, if you're latino family, if you're an african-american in the excerpts of milwaukee, he's making the pitch to you. he's got the message better developed than the party does writ large. but i agree with a lot of what mike says goodbye one difference would be is that if we had candidates with courage who stood up and said, here's my message, and it's an optimistic one and it will grow our party. i have yet to meet to me republicans whose attitude is i want fewer people in the republican party with fewer victories. you've got to trust your guy. you cannot trust a guy who thought ronald reagan was too liberal in 1984 and support someone else for president, but most republicans like this and it's just find the right, it's like been. jack kemp was this kind of republican. the kind of republicans who are broad and think about how do we broaden our base can had we broaden our support, how do we get more people inside the tent
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and hodo we take our timeless principles and apply them to the new situation? >> i would only say though that moved in party change. there are periods when parties are looking for converts and there are periods when parties are looking for heritage. >> no, no. i disagree. it's not party to its lead in party. sometimes in parties -- the mob goes this way and a leader can go that way. you think it was easy in 2000 with some of the people, gingrich, the compassionate conservatives were solid. the basis party was responding to a. i remember after the election we were, you know, clinton saw bush, george, when you said that compassionate conservative i knew we were in deep trouble. [laughter] he said that was just, that was just brilliant. i knew it would keep her people. that was just brilliant.
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you know, this, there is, i love this thing about the base of the party. the base of the party is, you know, is reflected through the primaries, but it's the readers -- the leadership element the public dialogue and wit where to meet public leaders and the dialogue who are retrogressive and not forward-looking. >> i want to make sure we save some time for questions but before we do not want to talk about one more so because i want to keep focus on policy. even though it doesn't dominate every election, a party without a foreign policy national is really not a governing party in my view. i think that helps republicans for most of my adult lifetime, hurt the democrats service since the mcgovern campaign. it seems to me we're opening up the debate in the republican party that this kind of been glossed over for the last few years. i thought about the reach of american policy in the role of intervention, i felt much of tht that debate in the 20 to
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primaries, hea had of all people haley barbour run for president. all of our friends, maybe the best chairman of the parties, great governor of mississippi. he we had a guy who worked for ronald reagan and he was critical in his speeches before he decided not to run. the afghanistan if all that, the iraq involvement. i was listening to him, most people are focusing is he going to run out isn't going to run? he saying something very different than we've ever would've heard even from -- from the deep south establishment republican. i don't know if he would've won the nomination but that debate never took place in 2012. it looks to me like it's going to take place now. our friend john bolton says he may run for president, particularly to combat just that kind of thinking. do we have a split and the republican party on foreign policy? wants the foreign policy message for our party it wants to be the governing party after the
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2016th election? >> i like the libertarian polls on the domestic front. i don't like it that much on the international process. republicans were isolationists libertarians view before world war ii, and hurt the country and it hurt the party. we had a brief flirtation with the with robert have any aftermath of world war ii. sometime -- america's a great country that has a special responsibility on the world stage like it or not. because if we leave it has an influence for the positive, and if we don't lead the world goes to hell in a handbasket pretty fast and it affects our shores, particularly in the globally connected we are. i'm not sure how much of the debate we will have on it o on e surface. there maybe some things but i thought it was interesting. rand paul when he sort of entered into it didn't do a full frontal attack on afghanistan or iraq or anywhere on care. he took the image of a drone hanging over the starbucks at the corner of main and the third
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in aspen and getting ready to find an aspen-based terrorist and unleash hellfire missile right into the starbucks. that was as mike pointed out in his comments, that was a great sort of intuitive political sense of what the american people would likely not like. but i didn't hear him say, i'm against us taking that drone and unleashing a hellfire missile on on the awlaki, a us-born terrorist in yemen who was behind the fort hood massacre and encouraging violence on america. but we'll see. if he does have a sort of a full throated attack on sort of an internationalist foreign policy who believes there's a war on terror and america's response those on the international stage, and i think he's going to come up short. but has yet is not really engaged in that way. >> let me ask mike any link to address this in a little
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different way, and then we'll get to the question. i think we want people to line up to ask questions. is not just rand paul. our friend has written a book in which he talks -- have you shown the audience? richard is right over there. i'm loyal. >> he's going to be very hard if you see anything bad about his book. and i am reading your book. richard called me. i tweeted a link to a column that he thought was critical of it and tonight to read the book and report back to him, and the papers due by the 15th of jul july. >> reported will comment on it afterwards and i'll get my great of a early august number looking forward to the experience. >> i sent to my daughter interned at the council at some and she's very pleased very pleased it anyway, here's my point. richard's argument basically, he could make himself but we're not going to let you. we are in a period of time where america can focus more heavily on its domestic challenges because we have a little bit of
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a breather in our obligations under international leadership. doesn't that fit quite consistently, elaine and my, what you just think about what the republican party needs to be up to do to appeal to voters in this very difficult time, economically? >> i do think that there has been a shift that's gone on. when i talk with members of house and senate, republican members of the house and senate, they did not come out of the reagan cold war era, many of the new members. they don't share many of the assumptions about america's moral role. i mean, i think, and i believe, i don't want to disagree with her onto me things, getting trouble, but i think rand paul is a conviction politician. i think that his conviction about the nature of what he views as the security state is conviction of much of his views.
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he believes that is the source of overreaching government in our history since the cold war. and it's likely to be a real contrast between ruby a who, by the way, in a risky way adopted internationalism and engagement, talking about foreign assistance, talk about other things. it could be a real serious are you on that and i'm not sure how it would turn out. the only response that you can give is substantively when you ignore the problem of the world they don't ignore you. we have a situation where we think we can disengage from the middle east and then you get into crisis that spills out over borders and produces terrorist threats and destabilizes key allies and produces humanitarian nightmares. and then we wonder why weren't we more active in shaping events instead of allowing them to fester. that's always what happens in america is that we think these are optional commitments until they become crises that threaten
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us spent nothing that interesting is so many of the isolationists believe that somehow foreign aid takes up like 50% of the united states budget. in reality it's less than .1 of 1%. i just think it's ironic that in an age of greater globalization that there's further and further talk about pulling back in isolationism. >> we have agreed to reject the rand paul isolationism. just getting spent i agree with mike about rand paul being a conviction politician. it would be interesting if he enters the race and we have a rubio-paul discussion. but michael bizet very clever, practical politician. so pick his fights. for example, my expense in 2011-12, i speak on a lot of campuses and i would run into ron paul kids, in about two
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minutes into the conversation it would be the plight of the and the oppression of the jews. by the jews. the oppression by the jews of the hapless poor palestinian people. there was this rampant anti-israel almost anti-semitic you of a lot of these ron paul supporters. rand is smart enough, unusual, to say i don't want to be associate with that view, that sorsort of effect to my desk and think i'm going to go to israel and going to make it clear that i understand israel as a strong ally of the united states, et cetera, et cetera. it will be interesting to see the conviction between -- i'm going to talk about the starbucks and not about anwar al-awlaki. and i'm going to emphasize israel but not emphasize that i want to cut our military aid budget that would seriously potentially put israel and other allies at risk. >> let's go to questions. we will go back and forth starting over your.
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>> think very much. i'm shelley from washington, d.c. on the national finance co-chair for the ready for hillary pack. [laughter] spent something tells and you get a lot of donations out of the zip code. >> that's what i'm here. i am your choice but to listen to your point of view and learn from you. into the engine spoken a lot about rand paul. would you each please address who would use the -- like to see representing your party in 2016, and why? >> i'm going to give a very simple answer. i think there's going to be a lot of different candidates. we're going to see governors. we're going to see paul ryan certain. i do think paul will have a leg up. i think it will be the republican primary will be quite robust and it will have lots of different candidates. i'm going to not answer that.
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so that's what i wanted to be first. go ahead. >> i don't want to punch be the. i think one of the advantages republicans have, we talk a lot about the disadvantages, but it's a pretty strong bench for the next election. chris christie is a tremendous natural politician. >> you have big figure on stage. >> i have a tremendous affection for jeb bush, who i think, understand, by the way gets both a libertarian side and common good side of a lot of these questions. i look at somebody like bobby jindal. i think people like paul ryan. you know, which contribute a lot to discussion. i also think many found a number of younger policy experts within the republican party, smart, intelligent people.
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someday return, some from a more humanitarian perspective that can provide policy for an innovative campaign. but my general concern is that we just have seen deeply unstable and disturbing primary processes where common you know, mitt romney really suffered not, a candidate can really benefit from a tough primary challenge. you don't benefit from it being serially almost beaten by a series of joe candidates. that's the way the primary process worked in the last election, and i would hope it would and in this case. you get these odd enthusiasms by billionaire supported candidates have put a lot of money on television you are not a serious. and that's damaging to the party. >> i would add to the list of names mentioned earlier, rubio, walker of wisconsin, kasich of
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ohio, and potentially snyder of michigan as people may or may not be interested in running. i'm interested in seeing them run. i want to see how they perform. i want to see their able to articulate a forward-looking economic message that as mike said space t to the live lived expensive people need to get inside our tent. i say one other thing. i don't think that it was the money that was spent by outsiders or the million are supporting this candidate running television ads. i think it was worse than it. all you need to do in this contest with the proliferation of debates what you need to raise enough money to get in a plane ticket to get into the next debates i picketed need, primary contest in the past have been contest of will and must with the message, organization, advertising, money, all the accoutrements of the campaign. it all you had to have was an outstanding debate performance when you were one of nine people sharing 90 minutes so on tragedy was a seven or eight good minutes on a stage and goes on to the next debate and the next
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contest pics i think limiting the number of debates and stopping the practice of picking liberal moderators whose interest was in depicting republicans as the weirdest people on the face of the planet would be constructed. we ought to require people not a real campaign rather than just every raise enough money to get a debate ticket. >> let's go over here. >> given that the overwhelming majority of increase in wealth and incomes since the bottom of the recession until today has occurred with the top one or 2%, to questions. one, why? to come is this good or bad in your view? >> elaine or mike and why did you start? >> i think it's bad. been.i think mike is a right ank about the aspirational meritocracy which is always characterized america. my parents came, i came from communist, taiwan as an immigrant. we have nothing, but somehow
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despite the badgers we just knew this was the land of opportunity. i think that's a very important message that somehow our party and all of america has to maintain. so i think it's very harmful, and this 1%, i just think this 1% of such a bogus, let me put it this way. i think it's such a demagogue issue. might talk about the skills gap. there's a widening gap between people who earn a lot of money and people don't. putting aside wall street and that's primarily because of the skills gap. more and more we are knowledge-based economy and employers are paying higher wages to those workers that possess more knowledge. that actually worked to the vantage of women because women are not graduating in larger numbers from professional schools, from colleges. so we're going to see more and more women taking leadership positions pics i think it's very bad but i think when you do have a real honest look at what does that 1% me? i think karl and mike would have a better -- >> i think there's a disturbing
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dynamic at work here, but it's not because of the wealthier wealthy. it's because a significant number of people at the bottom of our system, a third of workers know which is a scary notion, lack the education, the skills and family structure and background. if you read robert putnam, these are the three major factors that determine social mobility. to compete in an increasingly meritocratic economic system, and they globalized economic system. effect of that is, republican shouldn't downplay this. we are not concerned about inequality. i think the traditional republican view is in a mobile, highly mobile system where people can go from the bottom to the top, inequality is a natural outcome of capitalism. in a situation where you can't move from the bottom to the top, inequality is a caste system.
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it's intimate a whole group of people generation after generation to not have the ability to compete in a free market. and that to me as a guide to what republicans need to be addressing. and my concern as i've already expressed, the 1980 republican economic message of low taxes and high growth doesn't address that. it doesn't even speak into those concerns. now, we need economic growth. right now it's anemic and you can't get social mobility in the absence of endemic economy. but you have to policies that our acts are specified to build social capital and market-oriented ways to help people be able to compete in a free economy. >> i think it is a problem, and look, the main driver of this is family and education. this needs to be a robust effort. it's going to be more likely to happen at the state level than
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at the federal level because the compiler is breaking of the education. we have a system, some of our big cities that says we're concerned more with the input and the outcomes that we don't give a crap if we're educating -- edition that clung to one out of every two students in the school system and the district of columbia will never graduate from high school. that is a stain on our great country. we need to address it. i might have a slightly different view in another way. unlike elaine. i didn't come up with much. i got to go to college because i got a $1500 a year scholarship from the william randolph hearst foundation. when i moved into my freshman year, my dorm room, my apartment was a rented storage space. i hung my clothes on and no, my light was one since you get at the auto repair shop that has a cage on the outside of the lightbulb and i slept on a foam mattress and i'd work three jobs to make my way through school. and i think there is another
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problem. our government has gotten too big and there's too much or well for and there are too many breaks that benefit the big guys and people already got it. you get thes these wind farms we whipping gigantic amounts of money in the name of green energy to a couple of fly-by-night guys have been able to put together a lot of money and make a quick buck. he said our facility paid off in two years. we got all of our capital invested back into years, because we had the blenders tax. we get tax credit. we got through the tax system we got our entire investment back into years in the chute system. you talk to some of these offshore guys were doing and they say tom delay put that stupid tax credit for offshore oil development, we don't need but we have to take advantage of it because it's there but we don't need. what the hell are we doing that for? we can make plenty of money without a. with a tax benefit that benefit that they got over the little guy and we need to reform it and we have a government with way too much benefit that closed to
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the people have got the money that keeps the resources from the people who need. and also keeps paying too much in taxes because they're running up too much debt because most of that corporate welfare is being paid for by our women that we don't have. i want somebody will stand up and say we need to take on corporate welfare at the same time we're doing these other things so that stand for the republicans right to write. we believe in the ability of a daughter of immigrants to rise. we believe in the son of a geologist in a stay-at-home mom who sold avon products because she was -- we live in the right to rise. we need to find ways to do that but we got to come up with a robust on corporate welfare and attacks system. >> i'm glad you got out of the cramped dorm room and into more spacious facility at are able to
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do a better standard of living come into the moved into the white house because i saw your office. it sounded like that dorm room. >> it was a great space though. >> it's been a lively conversation but so far i think your panel has failed to address the real elephant in the room, which is the right wing of the party, the tea party. karl rove alluded to it when he said we have too many public leaders who dominate dialogue with retrogressive language and we need people like vin who are moderate but your party won't let people like trent to be elected and that's why the congressional leadership has an even lower popularity rating than the president. >> i love how the easy charge is the tea party. that's not right. marco rubio is tea party, you know. jeb bush appreciates the tea party. there's a difference between the tea party leadership and the tea party sentiment. this concern that grew up in 2009 and 2010 and reaction to
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present obama's policy, in response to the trend for and is rising amount of debt and the theory that some always been our way to prosperity, brought back into politics are brought into politics for the first time a lot of ordinary americans were deeply concerned about these. the tea party movement has been taken over in some respect, not a lot, not all that for some of it by people who, have other gems in a been around for a long time. i love the tea party sentiment. i had a book to her about 2010. i did 110 cities in 90 days. people come to the aisle and it would be giving me design the book to they say i'm a member of the tea party and i got asking them, want to be done in politics before? virtually all the people of the local level would say, nothing. never been involved in politics before. you look at the leadership and is some political and consultants are committed to has a mailing list at a nice office and the planet has bankrolled by direct mail and the marketing firm that's been 75% of the money they raise on expenses.
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so i'm a defender of the tea party sentiment. i think it's been healthy thing for american politics, like all new movements it gets a little rusty and gets a little ragged and gets rambunctious but it's been a healthy movement for american politics and i don't blame the problems of these people who are intransigent and are insistent upon, having our policy -- richard has been around come he opposed the nomination of abraham lincoln because he was too moderate. so i don't worry about people like that. i worry about finding the leaders who have a positive message to draw the party in the right direction. >> do you want to respond? >> karl did it. >> let's go to the aforementioned -- >> great to see you. from washington, d.c. >> mr. ambassador. >> thank you. >> by the way, we have the gallery. and we get family discounts.
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we haven't touched on the social issues. why do we keep getting wrapped around speed i think we are out of time. it was nice -- [laughter] >> we get wrapped around the axle on abortion and gender issues and gay-rights and our candidates come up, tomas senate candidates say isn't going to make you pregnant. how do we get into, how do we solve -- [applause] how do we solve getting, i just mean choosing candidates, do we send them to school summer and say hey, don't say these things? [laughter] >> electroshock therapy. >> you all thought this question was going to come from some left wing plant, didn't you? >> i think realistically, parties don't get to start over.
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coalitions are built over time. in the republican primary the last time, the largest single group within the republican primary electorate, are religious conservatives. a lot depends on how they are lead. george bush led them in one way and rick santorum leads them in another. both have very different local outcomes. i think that matters a great deal. >> i will address the elephant in the room. i think the republican party is going to remain a principled incremental pro-life party. i think that's what the base of the party believes. i think it's going to undergo a significant shift toward to do more -- toward a more diverse view on gay rights as the next generation rise. i think that's an unavoidable reality. republicans will be united by a belief that these things should be decided through democratic means rather than impose by courts but i think it will be
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united. you know, so i think that our source of unity within the republican coalition on even some of these issues, but it think that they are, have people like rob portman in the republican party who have strong social conservative convictions and are for gay arriage. and that's not going to be uncommon because it's not an ideological issue for many people. it's often a personal issue. it's often people you know. it's often your circle and family. i think republicans will have to find a way to accommodate the fact that they will have diverse views on that set of issues and communicate that to the next generation. >> we haven't talked about the far left element, the democratic party but i'm sure the session was set a because we are for republicans here, you know, a similar panel, what's the future of the democratic party would be very interesting as well.
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especially as the president enters a second term. there's something about the second term that never turns out the way that you want to. you can have all these wonderful ideas that i think the president is seeing that his trajectory is not what he expected. the irs scandal has shown a. the drone issue has. so in terms of party, there's all this last part of the democratic party that is somehow not talk about. i said repugnance our at a disadvantage because the media focuses more on the divisions within the republican party and the understood what happened in 22. they're working very hard to try to find a new path for themselves but there's nobody in charge. this is a democracy. there are all these different people who are vying for attention for their own voice, and this is part of the beauty of voices we have in america as well. >> i'm going to let karl's biggest i've informed keeper of the time went down, i' i'm sorr,
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we can't take any more questions. >> in preparation for today's event i went back and read a lot, and there's a particularly insightful column written on june 17 on this very subject. not by me unfortunately. though my column today is pretty damn good. but on the 17th of june mike wrote this, the single largest constituency within the gop and compose about a quart of the entire electorate. such voters are not baggage from overboard to lighten the ship they are plinks. which i thought was an important insight. mike later goes on to say that what's required is imaginative leadership, a republican reform cannot use religious conservatives as a foil to keep her she wanted to appeal to religious conviction as a motivation for reform. and that ain't easy to do. it's easy to go and say stupid things like todd akin or richard
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murdoch said because lots everything to do what michael is doing is necessary here, just delete. the final way to take the base of the republican party and lead in a way that allows us to expand the numbers without sacrificing first principles making communist, making ourselves accepting to current circumstances. and this is the great challenge of both political parties. and let's not kid ourselves. both political parties succeed and fail at this over the course of decades several times. they fail and succeed. there will be an interesting debate within the democratic party. the democratic coalition that is dependent upon extraordinary high turnout in the african-american community and a near universal support for the nominee of the democratic party will have a challenge i in the post obama air to the democratic party as a division between the foreign policy views of the former secretary of state and, the soon-to-be, not soon enough, three nephews, former president of the united states is going to have some tension there.
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but both political parties they said at this is one of the key one for the republican party is how do we keep the religious conservatives as part of the coalition what allowing ourselves to be heard and seen by other people? >> we have proven the future of the party is a long discussion on a short one and that was my main objective. thank you. [applause] >> [inaudible conversations] now, a look at the progressive agenda, including voting rights and campaign finance. this part of the june meeting in san jose is one hour 15 minutes. >> so we're going to get going. my nana's joan walsh become editor at large of salon.com and an msnbc political analyst.
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i know some of you and i'm happy to see all of you. we have such a wonderful benefit of going to limit my remarks. but i think one of great things about netroots nation, this is my first time, one of the things that's the fun of it being here is weekend be honest with each other and talk about how is it going, how's it working, what's working and what is not working? and also sort of bug of each of the spirit in case anybody is getting disillusioned or disappointed right now. i had that express yesterday. i did a fun book panel and i guess i found it a little negative about our current political climate, and this wonderful woman stood up and said i want you guys to remember that we did some amazing things in 2012. we beat back voter suppression. we reelected the president. we made strides in the house and in the senate. you are talking as though we lost. on my, you're right. we want, okay, let's remember that. why doesn't feel that way sometimes? and so this is a panel that really looks at maybe why doesn't feel that way and what
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we need to change. we know that we made these big victories seven months ago, our progressive agenda is installed by a minority in this country that able to use minority powers. they can't pass their unpopular agenda but they can block our popular agenda. mainly because of three issues. barriers at the ballot box, corporate funded elections, and gridlock in washington, d.c. that we all know is heavily caused by tracy senate rules that are running for senate in a way that's never been run before. so we know that you democratic change we've got to push back against corporate funded efforts to suppress voter participation. we've got to stop the influence of corporate money. we've got to end of the obstruction and the abuse of rules innocent. and actually we're working on it. civil rights, labor, and environmental organizations with stronger notions launched something called the democracy initiative to engage in these
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fights. with a powerful panel here today to talk about the work of democracy initiatives and the groups involved. they represent millions of american voters and a large number of you here at netroots nation. so want to energize you and send you home optimistic and with some ideas about how to get further involved in making the change that we know needs to be made. so we've got a great panel. and i'm going to tell you they are really quickly. i'm not going to read their an amazing bios and their acolytes. i'm going to let them tell you they are, why they're here. we got of course benjamin jealous of the naacp. we have karen scharff. i do not we're going to see. there's karen scharff. new york's is an action. with larry cohen of the medication workers of america's and phil radford of greenpeace. i'm so thrilled and proud to say that we were supposed of the wonderful senator tom udall. he could not be here because the senate is busy. but we have senator jeff merkley who is an amazing --
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[applause] >> hero. hero in many ways including coming back to the on this panel for and to share his perspective on senegal's reform. some going to let them go in order and start with benjamin annual told us why he simply wants to talk about. >> welcome for so good afternoon. it is great. it is great to be here with all these, which is only folks on this panel, concern, fired up about spending and extending our voting rights, pushing money out of politics. and about making sure that the sender wants to filibuster a bill that got to put on depends undergarments and go down there and do it the old-fashioned way. look, we are at a crossroads in our country. it is not as bleak as many say it is. it is simply whether or not the future is going to come faster
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than many people think is possible or what it will come as slowly as the koch brothers would like to see it come. the future will come. our country is rapidly approaching a day when we we the great plurality that we've always been destined to be. we will be a plurality of pluralities. we will be a country that has no majority. we will be a nation of minorities where every group has to get along with at least one of the group to get ahead democratically. and there are many of us of all colors, of all communities to welcome that day because we understand that from the beginning that's what this country was supposed to be about. as democracy we were supposed to be about one person, one vote. they are were other people, fortunately they tend to be much older, who are really trying to hold onto the status quo. and we have to understand that,
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that yes, we have been here before. there's been a moment in our history when does who are invested in the status quo were very fearful of a growing black electorate, and increasing numbers of people of color migrating into this country. was right after the civil war. this country passed the 14th amendment, passed the 15th amendment and it passed -- what we've seen with s.b. 1070, let's be clear, they're not happening in maine where my father some is from an estate big undocumented canadian population. [laughter] no. they are happening along the southern border. but the difference between now and then is that back then, black people were recently freed
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slaves. back then, women couldn't vote. back then, the chinese in this country literally could be rounded up and that's what made alice island to ellis island -- angel and a california, you should go out of the coach. in other words, the good news is that this is not them. we are much more powerful, and what we saw last year when we saw just as we were living through the greatest assault legislatively on voters in more than a century since the rise of jim crow, more laws pushing goes out of the ballot box. a backlash to the backlash the actual increased voting in the very demographics that were targeted for suppression. and the other part of the good news is that if there was a group of people who are too much power for too long at the end of the day, to undeservedly, because they weren't a majority
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in what they had were not organized people but really organized money, the clock was running out on, they would be acting like the far right wing in this country is acting right now. desperately trying to get everything they can to hold off the future. but they can't hold off the future. it will come. it's up to us to make sure that it comes more quickly than they think is possible. [applause] >> okay. hi. i'm larry cohen from the cwa and a shout out to the cw a are too scattered around your. [applause] >> happy solstice day. everyone will stay up all night, right? at what happens in the north, you know. so, cwa has about 550,000 active members who do collective
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bargaining. and another 150,000 who are retired or don't have bargaining rights. why did we get into the democracy initiative? because on every key issue that our members care about, we hit a dead end. and as any of these are many others in the room could tell you that collective bargaining in united states has become all defense like your cling on to a cliff, and how long can we hold on to our health care? alcon wouldn't can hold onto her jobs quick how long can hold onto our retirement? and affect how long can we hold on to our rights at work? answer seven or eight years ago we defined our key issues to cut across the five main industry groups that make up our union. around those four things, our jobs, health care, retirement and our rights. and we set out, whether it was
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in bargaining or organizing, or in congress, to move that agenda with partners. could not move an agenda like that on her own no matter what. and we soon saw that despite 2008, which i think most of us would say was a high water mark in terms of what you can do by these rules, we saw in 2009 that at the federal level, first because of senate rules, nothing ever even got discussed. so the 111th congress passed over 400 items, mostly legislation. never got discussed for one second on the floor of the senate. not for one second. and whether it was much more far-reaching health care reform, the dream act, disclose, the employee free choice act which would'vwould admit workers woule real organizing rights in this country again in the private
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sector, none of that got discussed. and affect people would second-guess, oh, maybe we should have had a slightly different bill. when, in fact, what we faced was an onslaught from the right wing totally taking over the republican party and a big chunk of the democratic party, particularly innocent. i shouldn't say a big chunk but i'm sitting next to one of the best of the best of the best ever, but a chunk. [applause] and so we started to learn, maybe a little slow, that these democracy issues, not just senate rules what we'll focus on some here today, but money in politics and voting rights were at the core of why economic justice was beyond our reach. and so for us, we talked about, and this is the basic education,
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thousands of cwaers have worked for called economic justice and democracy, that if we didn't think that democracy issues with jobs, healthier, retirement security and rights on the job, no hope, no hope any way for today. in fact, we need to have a plan which hopefully we're building together and many other initiative partners in the room as well as right here at this table, that it would be what we call here seven to 10 years can but at least then there would be a path. some of these things like at least some moderate senate rules if we all mobilize within the next few weeks, but many others like universal voter registration or the big money out of politics, it's going to take longer. and that we shouldn't get discouraged and we won't give up about the vision about economic justice. but if we don't build a democracy movement that has more
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in similarity than tunisia and egypt and turkey and brazil and south africa in slightly different ways, we're not going to have economic justice year. we will be moaning about economic inequality for years and years and decades to come. so we are very optimistic that if we stick together, build a broader, modest but tough or determined, that together with the democracy initiative and with the movement for economic justice and with great leaders like senator merkley, we can achieve a real american dream. [applause] >> the american dream is a good point to begin the transition because we think about the american dream. it is under such assault. homeownership as a wealth building mechanism for the middle class struck down by predatory practices in the
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subprime markets and then exploded the entire economy. living wage jobs disappearing, 80% of those that we lost in the recession were living wage jobs, and only 40% of the jobs aren't getting back living wage jobs. there's a long list, the u.s. senate should be there paving a path to take these issues on. that's what you do. and a democracy. that's what legislature is for, to figure out the problem. try that response out. if it works well, expand it. if it doesn't, contracted. but right now what happens is the id is debated, maybe it gets through committee, gets to the floor, and just get a super majority of 60 just to get the issue onto the floor. an amendment. if there's an objection, which takes 60 votes. the whole bill would take 60 votes. this is not the senate as it has existed historically in the united states of america.
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under lyndon b. johnson come in six years as majority leader of the senate, only one time, one time in six years, could have to produce a petition and then hold a vote to try to close debate and get to a final simple majority vote. the rest of the time it was courtesy. everyone had their say, and now we're going to go to final vote. under harry reid's first six years, he had to file 391 petitions. and these petitions take up a whole week because they were designed for that rare exception, years apart. when this is done every week and there's not three her 91 weeks and they say shepard, you can see how the senate has been brought to its knees. we only got one appropriation bill done in the last two years out of 24. we can talk about the disclose act which was mentioned. we never got to a final vote on the disclose vote because we could only get 59 centers --
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said tuesday yes, let's close the debate a little bit final vote. the dream act got a majority but not a super majority. a replacement to the sequestered got a majority but not a super majority. so we need to change this. we need to get rid of the filibuster on the motion to proceed to the floor. straight up or down vote. are you on the floor or are you not? we need to get rid of it on conference committees. right now there's no conference committee on the budget even though the senate passed a budget and the house passed a budget because the senate republicans are filibustering the conference committee. now, i ask you, how could anyone object to the house and senate in together and trying to reconcile the differences between their two bills? but that's how dysfunctional the senate has become as a result of those who want it to be dysfunctional. and this is a key piece. if you are very powerful and you have dozens or hundreds of
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lawyers, and you have huge amounts to donate to super pacs and campaigns, you can find a way past the super majority over time. but if you are fighting for a progressive cause, for fairness, if you're fighting for the 99% rather than the 1%, then the 1% uses the paralysis of the senate to block the opportunity to have a full debate and vote on things that will take america forward. that's why this should matter to all of us. so i would be very brief. there's a nomination site and there's the legislation site. i described on the legislation side some of the changes we should also insist upon 41 votes to extend debate so that absent votes count for closing debate, not for extending debate. and if those 41 want more debate we should require that the has to be debate. folks have to stand up and actually make the case before
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their colleagues, before the american people. the american people with all of your help can decide if they are heroes or bombs, and that feedback will help us, hopefully come to a final vote, a simple majority come and take legislation forward. on the nomination site, we have a senate that is crippling the other two branches of government. that was never envisioned in the constitution. in our longer discussion i will have more to say on that. but let me close on this. my partner throughout this has been tom udall of new mexico. he saw the senate when it worked because a family tradition in which they knew capitol hill well, and he, like i, was also be appalled by this dysfunction. he made the argument more clearly and forcibly than anyone else that every two years we should start with a discussion of the rules. the rules will be adjusted to keep the senate working as a legislative body. it used to be called the world's greatest liberty body.
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wouldn't it be wonderful if we could say that again? and he would love to have been here today, and please make sure you extend your love to him and his appreciation for the battle he has been leading. thank you. [applause] [applause] >> adequate funding for public schools. we try to find solutions that are ambitious but yet achievable.
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and that's what led us to democracy and fair elections which might be pushing us over the edge of what's possible but, hopefully, we're going to still get there. we're also the new york affiliate of u.s. action. we have state organizations in over 20 states across the country doing similar economic justice work. and i'm cochair of the working families party. in new york we have a system which a number of states but most states don't have where you can run as a candidate on multiple party lines. we have a strong coalition of powerful unions and community groups, and we use our endorsement process and ballot line to choose usually among the major party candidates to encourage progressive candidates to run, to endorse progressive candidates, to elect progressive candidates against more conservative candidates in primaries and also help democrats beat republicans. and citizen action and working families party have been leading the coalition called fair elections new york along with a huge amount of help from friends
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of democracy. and in order to address this issue of money in politics, we've been trying to in new york win a public funding of elections system in which the system would provide $6 in public matching funds for every $1 you get in small donations from your districts. and the idea is you would win using only small donations and public funds rather than what most candidates have to do now which is spend all of their time dialing for dollars asking the wealthiest donors and largest corporations to give them money to fund their campaigns. and the idea is by being able to run with small donations and public money, candidates would no longer be forced to not only take money from contributors, but then make public policy that satisfies those donors. new york city has a system like this that has worked for decades for city-level races, and it has significantly changed who runs for office, who wins and also what legislation gets passed. more people of color run, more
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women run, more working people including members of unions and community groups run. and not only do they run, but they actually win. once they're in office, they do things very differently. for example, most recently the progressive caucus in the city council, many of whom we at the working families helped elect worked closely with us to win passage of a requirement that employers provide paid sick days. and those are the kinds of victories you get when you have a public funding system -- yes. [applause] big victory. those are the kind of victories you get when you have a public funding system and you can elect people to office who actually are concerned about the everyday lives of working people in their city. and at the state level, we don't have that. sadly, it's not an exaggeration to say in new york state as in the country our democracy has been hijacked by wealthy donors. those who give money not only determine who runs and who wins elections, but as i was saying the opposite in terms of new york city, they also determine the policy decisions that are made every day by our
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government. in fact, in new york, you know, use example after example, but just a few months ago there was a massive campaign involving many, many unions and organizations who want an increase in the minimum wage at the state level. we finally did win but only after our state legislature agreed to provide a huge tax break to low-wage employers like walmart in order to reimburse them, basically, for the increased wage they were going to have to pay. we looked into that more, and why are we suddenly giving away $65 million a year in tax credit toss the walmarts of the world? walmart gave $500,000 in campaign contributions leading up to that fight. and those kind of campaign contributions and those kind of policy decisions are exactly what's wrong with our political system. and you see it in issue after issue. it's not the wide and growing economic inequality in our state and in our country is not an accident. the influence of big money has shaped policies that led to deregulation, union busting,
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lower wages and many other policies that have decreased the power of working people, led to economic and financial crises and increased the wealth of the 1% at the expense of the 99%. and in this kind of climate especially after citizens united where we can't get big money out of elections, we have to get voters back into elections in order to change the outcomes of elections and of public policy. and that's why the working families party and citizen action created the fair elections for new york campaign a couple years ago to fundamental hi change our campaign finance system in new york, and we hope to kind of set a trend for the country at both the national level and other states. by creating a voluntary matching system that provides public matching funds to small donations from ordinary voters, we can make our elections work again for voters and have voters take back our democracy and begin to reclaim our public policy making. we believe after looking closely at the campaign finance system in new york city, in the state, in the country that public
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funding is really the only way in this current, you know, high-money, high-stakes, corporate-dominated political culture to provide a real alternative to candidates so that they can, again, win elections with small donations with people that are supported by the voters not the donors. and that's why we at working families and citizens action made fair elections such a top priority this year and last year, and i'll talk more about where we are, where we progressed, but that's really our reasons for getting into this campaign are driven, as larry said, by the fights for economic justice and the challenge of winning those fights without first changing our campaign finance system. thanks. [applause] >> and phil. >> good afternoon. i'm phil radford, i'm the executive director of greenpeace. i am sorry that i didn't scale down the wall and come in with more of a greenpeace entrance.
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[laughter] >> it's not too late, phil. >> it isn't. >> actually, phil, i think you can, it's just that you didn't. >> it's true. i appreciated ben's comment that the senate should wear diapers. usually people ask us when we're hanging from a bridge, how do you go to the brad room? and we do -- bathroom? and we do what the senators should do during a filibuster, we wear diapers. [laughter] i wanted to acknowledge karen and also the working families party because they are one of the few groups that are courageous to primary some of these weasely democrats that are out there -- [applause] we need a bunch more of that, we need more true leaders like at this table, but we need people to hold politicians accountable so that they're afraid of us if they don't do the right thing. question for you. when was the last major environmental law passed in the congress? last big, groundbreaking environmental law.
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[inaudible conversations] >> i heard 1971, i heard 1990, an amendment to the clean air act. i heard mr. cantor back there saying 1980, superfund law. 1980. last big, new environmental law passed through the u.s. congress. new. there have been many amendments, but last new, big law. 1980. so 1980 was one year before ibm came out with the first personal computer. [laughter] i was 4. i had hair here and none here. big glasses. 980. 1980. you know, you might think, you know, that's fine pause the rivers aren't on -- because the rivers aren't on fire anymore like they were in cleveland, we don't have black monday in st. louis where you couldn't see the sun at noon because of air pollution. but when you look at what president bush put out toward the end of his tenure, that over half of us will get cancer in our lifetime and over 61% of
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those cancers are related to the environment, when you look at that, we are far from done. you know, the reason that we got all these laws passed from 1970 to 1980 was that there were millions of people on the streets, and our corporate opponents were flat-footed. our corporate opponents did not know what was hitting them at all. and you had louis powell, everybody knows the powell memo. if you don't, quickly google it. come on, i know you have your cwa-supported phone. [laughter] but, you know, powell basically walked down to the head of the chamber of commerce which back then also represented small business and said, hey, we have a problem. ralph nader, environmentalist, people who want women's right, civil rights, people who care about the fact that wages are likely to go down from 1973 on. those people are going to destroy our world. and so he said the corporate right, the kochs, the coors, the
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corporate right needed to take over this country, and they needed to take over the courts, they needed to take over congress, they needed to get those ft professors fired and take over schools, they needed everyone to have an mba to change their way of thinking. they needed to do a whole litany of things to fundamentally change the balance of power. where we are today is the newest version. where we are today is the koch brothers and their buddies using bigotry and big money to destroy our democracy. the newest version of a really old story of corporate power, of racism, of sexism, of a few people wanting to control this country. the new version is the bigotry and the big money that these guys are using to take over our country. and they're using it by suppressing voters, as we know, keeping young people, old people, people of color out of the polls. where in texas there's a law where you can vote -- or there was a bill pushed where you can
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vote with a gun id but not with a student id. how blatant is that? you know, you're pushing that law while you're pushing to get big money into politics, while you're really happy to keep the senate broken. you know, what we've pulled together here is an unprecedented coalition across race, across issues, across silos. because what we know is that fundamentally we are in epic, historic battles in the battle to get people in, to get this beautiful, diverse country empowered, get everyone's voices heard, make sure everyone's voice counts and get the money of the few people that have a desire to hold on to power as hong as they can out -- as long as they can out. and once we get people in and get that money out, we won't need to worry about our mothers or our daughters or our sisters or our fathers or our brothers getting cancer from being exposed at the workplace or in their communities. because our voices will actually be heard. so that's why greenpeace is
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here, and that's why it's a real honor to be here with everyone, and that's why i can't wait to see the senate with us in diapers. [laughter] [applause] >> i don't know how i wound up sharing a microphone with ben jealous. i don't know. [laughter] because we've had a change in our panel, we're going to mix up the questions a little bit. i'm going to keep you all on your toes. we want to get to the issues of the way money in politics, voting rights and senate rules are interlinked, and we've got people, karen and ben are going to talk about the state level, the new york experience, and we're all really excited to hear about what you're doing in north carolina. we're going to leave it to phil and larry to really kind of look at the national political picture and really give us the vision of what di wants to accomplish and how. but i'm going to start with senator merkley because we do have this, hopefully, we hope we have a shorter-term opportunity in the next month, and we all,
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you know, we've got a lot of people here who i think back what you're doing incredibly and want to be as helpful as possible to you if you have ideas about that. but tell us exactly what's going on in your discussions and what we might hope to see happen in july. if anything. >> so right now the senate is immersed in the immigration debate. >> with right. >> we're looking forward to passing that bill out of the senate, keeping intact the framework. that was put together by the group of eight, four democrats and four republicans. but what we're not doing right now is we're not doing nominations. and we have this huge backlog. we need to put in place five new members of the national labor relations board, one of the most important things we have to accomplish. [applause] we need to get richard cordray confirmed as the permanent director of the cfpb. [applause] we need to have gina mccarthy
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taking the epa forward and pursuing, you heard yesterday the president talked about applying the standards for carbon dioxide pollution to existing coal-fired plants. we need a director of epa to take that forward and make it happen, and it's a huge goal. hugely important. [applause] tom perez is waiting to be confirmed at labor, a real champion for working people. and we have three folks who have been nominated to the d.c. circuit court. these would be folks filling positions that have been long empty. this is the second most important court in our country aside from the supreme court because so many of the issues or laws go through that appeals court before they go to the supreme court. well, clearly what's been happening is the nominations have not been getting done because we have embargoes on them. we have supermajority opposition. of we have folks who finally get
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a vote and finally win nomination by 92-2 because there are folks absent who have had to wait a year to get that vote. and if you think about it on the judicial side, this is really court packing by blocking the president's nominations. and it's unacceptable. and if you think about it on the executive branch side, it's a strategy designed to drain the energy of the president and his team that has been elected in order to keep them pursuing the things that today campaigned on which is -- that they campaigned on which is an incredible interference in democracy. and it hads such cynicism. our young folks are wondering why should we vote? why should we care? the senate's paralyzed. the house is not much better. well, it's actually worse. [laughter] but you can see we have to do this in order to have a vibrant democracy function and to take on this, the policies. so here's the bottom line. we have to eliminate the fill hi
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buster on nominations. [applause] filibuster on nominations. so what we're expecting in july is to try to get these nominations done, and we expect there will be opposition as there has been all along, and at that moment we need to say either we have up and down votes in a timely fashion including the whole backlog of justices that are lined up, or we change the rules or change the interpretation of the rules. because our democracy has been stolen, and we have to take it back. [applause] >> with -- so since i know you have limited time, i'm just going to take the moderator's privilege and push just a little bit. obviously, we can do this with a majority of -- we have a democratic majority. where are we on this, and how would you urge people to get more involved, and if they have democratic senators who perhaps haven't stated a position or who perhaps are known to be skeptical of this idea, what's
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your advice to people? how can we push this forward? >> yes. so i encourage everyone to be very involved because this is about our nation, about what gets passed in laws, about whether the courts are packed, about whether the president's team is in place to be able to pursue the executive functions. there are -- use your national organizations, whatever profession you're part of or group you're part of, encourage your national leaders to weigh in. larry can fill in a lot about this because he's been helping groups organize at the national level and weigh in. it matters to the members to hear in this regard and from the folks in their home state. it matters to the leadership of the party. yes, you're correct, we will not get this done by a bipartisan majority. i worked very hard to find colleagues across the aisle who would form a group before the last election to say let's make
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the senate work in this fashion. and i had a number who felt very much akin to the reforms that tom and i have been talking about. but they didn't feel they could take on the minority leader, mitch mcconnell, in a procedural issue. and so it's become clear it has to be done in a partisan way but not in a politically partisan way. that is, this will be healthy for the entire country. the ideas that we've been putting forward will be good when we're in the minority or the majority. they are fair. and on the legislative side, it still gives you a chance to filibuster. on the nomination side, it still gives everyone a vote. by the way, i'll answer the main critique here which will say, wait, if democrats in the minority, don't you need to keep the hurdle in place to keep a bad president and a bad republican majority from putting, making bad things happen? well, here's the thing. don't think for a moment that the republican colleagues will not change the rules when
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they're in that position of power. >> yeah. >> in 2005, in 2005 when the democrats were filibustering judges, republicans said this: they said either stand down and quit filibustering, or we're changing the rules to simple majority on judges. and what pursued was a group of 14, they negotiated, the democrats agreed not to filibuster, and the result was they got what they wanted without the rule change which then came back to cause us great harm when the democrats took the majority, because the republicans didn't abide by the same deal. >> right. >> so this is, this is why we have to do it and why it makes sense. >> sure. larry, you and i have talked about this. >> yeah. >> i'm going to turn to you now. you know, you've been a really outspoken person on the need to do this, on some of the obstacles to doing it. this notion -- i wrote something that was a little bit critical maybe of senate majority leader reid, and you were, you know,
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sober with me that, you know, he can't do it by himself, and if he doesn't have the votes, he may not have the votes. >> right. >> talk a little bit about your work in trying to push some of the democratic senators, quite honestly, who like the collegial way things have run, also fear this notion of being in the minority again and not having any power -- although i've always said it's, when you're preparing to be in the minority, you're preparing to be defeated, and if you're bold and you take the strength of the majority and do what you're elected to do, you might stay in the majority. that would be kind of cool. [laughter] [applause] so i know -- >> radical idea there. >> i know i'm a radical. i know we agree on this, larry, but talk about your thinking on this. >> yeah. so first of all, these next three weeks are critical, as senator merkley just said. this is like part one. this is our deposit. this is to show that we can make a difference. this is to show that we can
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change things. it's not senate resolution 5 that you wrote with senator udall championed that we had, i think, 49 votes for, enough to pass it, but it didn't get on the floor. this is just on nominations. but if we don't get this done, number one, as was already said by senator merkley, on august 27th the only confirmed member of the nlrb is off. his term is up. he's off that day. there will be no nlrb. 80 million workers have nothing at all, no floor to walk on in terms of their rights whether it's the six million which is a pathetic number but that's what we're down to that have bargaining rights or the 74 million that don't. so this july recess and the three weeks in july when the senate meets is critical. but the nlrb is only one part of it. richard cordray goes off at the end of december. the republicans said when dodd-frank was passed we will never confirm the director of the cfpb. and so brent warren, as many of
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you knew, she was acting because she couldn't have gotten confirmed even though she won an election to the senate from massachusetts but couldn't get confirmed because of the way these nominations are handled. so part one of this, parking lot one of this is these next -- part one of this is these next three weeks where we have a mass campaign, and it's all of us and more. it's many of the organizations or most sitting out here are all working together. fix the senate now.org. you can see more there. but it means mobilization particularly in every state where you have a democratic senator. because we're not going to get a republican vote on this, not one. it's a procedural matter. you heard senator merkley. so right here in california the senators need to hear loud and clear, they're probably just about okay right now. but they're not in the 40 that we clearly have. they're in the next group.
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and so many of you are from california. they need to both hear from you. in the next three weeks. on july 2nd, that's during the recess, the senate recess is june 27th-july 8th, we will be organizing together visitations or whatever you want to call them with as many of these democratic senators as possible. including the ones that are among the 40 that are terrific on this. because they need real energy on this. they need to hear that we're not going to stand for a democratic majority that sits back and says, well, we congress get four of our -- we couldn't get four of our colleagues to stand up with us. we need the 40 to say to the other 14, the majority of which are fine but they need, you know, what would you -- i don't want to get you involved in that. [laughter] they need, i don't know, what do
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we call that? they need a push, and they need it now. they need a kick. there you go. [laughter] >> with if a push doesn't work. >> so we have a very shaky 51, but we need to focus on all of them, and we need to do it now. >> name the names. >> name the names. yeah, well, i mean, number one, we should focus on all of them. i do have the names here just by coincidence. [laughter] yeah. so this is a larger group just so i don't like overly focus on three. [laughter] so you can figure it out from the list. levin, pryor, jack reed, feinstein, baucus, leahy, carper, fellson, mccaskill, hagen, landrieu, donnelly, heitkamp. but the other 40 need to help us get that done too.
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and, again, most of those -- i don't want to, like, absolutely target the three. you can probably figure them out. but most of those are good. so we don't want to be, you know, overly negative. we want to be encouraging. but we have to do it now. and on july 2nd, as i said, together we will be organizing a national day of action. they're on recess from june 27th to july 8th. over a million americans have signed a petition to them, to the leader, harry reid, who does want to get this done, in my view. but he's not going to do it if he doesn't have 51. can do it with 50 because the vice president can break a tie even on a procedural issue, correct? but we need 51. so i don't want to use up all the minutes on this, but this is the first step of the democracy initiative. more importantly, this is the first step in the broad movement for democracy that we can win. and on the one hand, imagine when with great leaders like senator merkley we win this and
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harry reid taking this on how we will feel, like we can make some change occur. and number two, feel what it will be like, for example, if labor day is celebrated this year and four days earlier the nlrb ended. that's the choice. and the nlrb is only one of these things. obviously, dear to my heart and to 80 million workers in this country. but it's not just the nlrb. that's what we're facing. that's the choice. labor day with no labor law in america. that'll be the bottom. we're already near the bottom of any democracy. or this democracy movement gets some movement and some progress in july, we change the rules, and then we get an up or down vote on these nominees. >> that's great. okay. i'm going to go to phil now. [applause] we like clapping, it wakes everybody up. it gets us -- we can stand up later and clap too. phil, we're going to ask you to
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go a little bit beyond this really crucial, it'd be so great to kick this off -- thank you -- with a win like that, but take us to next steps and also talk a little bit about what it takes for a group, for the groups as big as yours and as important as yours -- ben, you're leaving me -- [laughter] i'm on my own mic. >> very attractive to have my microphone. >> i understand. [laughter] talk about what it takes to bring these powerhouses together and get people outside of their silos and work together in concert on senate rules reform and the next issues you're taking on? >> great. and can we give the senator just one more round of applause? >> here here. [applause] >> there's nothing that unites us better than a damn good
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enemy, you know? and so what does it take to bring a lot of different groups together? i think it -- number one is it takes the fact that our fights are largely about people versus money. organized people versus organized money, you know? and if you're from the environmental movement and you look at who is in congress or who's elected in government, who's good on our issues, you quickly realize that the labor movement and the women's movement elected those people in congress. so fundamentally, you think if you care about the environment, if you care about our health, fundamentally you have to care about workers' rights. you have to care about women's rights. you have to see that unless we all have power together, unless the folks elected by the civil rights movement, women's right movement, labor movement are in office, forget safety in the workplace from chemicals, forget addressing climate change, forget all those things. so i think the first thing that can bring us together is just the fundamental realization that while we have differences and while there are real policy debates once in a while, the
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underlying balance of power that we need in this country for people's voices to be heard over those of polluters or those who want to profit by making sure today make more money than the workers, we've got to change that balance of power. so i think there's a set of leaders, a set of organizers that are running several institutions now that realize it's not about d.c., it's about being on the ground, it's about shifting the balance of power and realizing how much we have to win or lose together. so that's number one. i think number two is these folks are amazing. it's easy to work with them. [laughter] so i don't know. but i think fundamentally if you believe that we have to shift the balance of power, if you get how interrelated our collective power is, and if you get the broader trends of history that we're a part of in democracy and working to actually fulfill the promise of having a democracy in this country and that our change depends on it, it all flows from there. >> one thing i think is exciting is that this work is going on at the state level, too, and so,
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ben, i'm going to turn to you and then karen to talk about some of the lessons of the great work that you're doing. i'll start with north carolina -- >> sure. >> -- because we want to hear about that. >> sure. so, you know, there's great work happening in several states right now. north carolina is extremely visible. because they are dealing with a very tough reality head on. this is a very successful coalition of folks built by the naacp and its leader, reverend barber over the past almost decade who put together the power to push through great voting reforms in 2006 and made it possible for the people of north carolina to really be heard in 2008, a state that president obama won in the south.
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over the past couple years. so mondays, wednesdays have really been very visible and inspiring in showing what we can all do when we come together, you know, one for all and all for one. with that said, aim we've seen big victories on voting rights in states just north and some of them still below the mason dixon line of that great state. in virginia a couple weeks ago governor bob mcdonnell kicked major dent in the last pillar of jim crow voter suppression which is the lifetime ban on formerly-incarcerated people voting. [applause] do what we may not have done today, clap for a republican. [laughter] it's good for the soul. it was extremely courageous.
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i begged kaine to do the exact same thing. sitting as governor of a swing state. what this did, this reenfranchised 100,000 to 200,000 virginia voters who are believed by most -- because these are working people -- to likely be with disproportionately democratic voters. so kaine mumbled some principles, i couldn't even recognize his principles. and then we go to mcdonnell right after, very early in his tenure. and he says, you know, i believe in redemption. i believe in second chances. i think this is the right thing to do. and so we developed a plan to work it through the legislature, and when that failed, when his own party disappointed him, he stood up, and he signed an executive order that will reenfranchise -- 100,000 to
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200,000 people have database issues, we're trying to figure it out. when this law was put in place in 1901, my grandmother's grandfather just finished serving as a state senator in virginia, and he thought he might have a further politics in the state. at that convention senator, state senator glass would go on to be u.s. senator glass, the glass-steagall act, said, and i quote: yes, this is what this convention is about, discrimination. and then when he put forward this plan, he said, because of this plan, the dark will be eliminated as a factor in our state's politics within five years. so for mechanic don to stand up -- mcdonnell to stand up and do the right thing when leaders of virginia refused to do it for over a century was a very big deal. and that was because of a movement led by the naacp in the state and several other groups for years. in maryland we've seen expansions of early voting,
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we've seen same-day registration pushed through. in delaware we just passed a constitutional amendment getting rid of the five-year mandatory waiting period for formerly-incarcerated people from voting. and this in a state that's about, i think, about 32% black. where it will significantly increase the black electorate disproportionately but also let a lot of poor white folks vote again too. so this has been part of a wave. i mean, this year we have seen more states pass laws expanding the vote than we have seen states pass laws shrinking the vote. because we decided as a movement to go on the offense. this is, this is what being on the offense looks like. yes, we have lost, and we have lost some tough fights in virginia, for instance. they put into place voter id. last year mcdonnell refused to sign the bill. this year he felt like he had to sign the bill in part because he was -- but it's much were the to
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be in -- better to be in a situation where you win one and lose than where you're just losing. why is north carolina is important? why do the victories of virginia, yap, delaware and so many other states are so important is that in this century the fight will primarily be about state-level legislation. in the last century, the fight was primarily about federal litigation. that's important too. we have some big cases coming down next week. but it will primarily be about state-level legislation. and the rules of the game have changed. most of us are very familiar with fighting people who are breaking the law to suppress the vote. what we're dealing with right now is a much older virus in our politics, a playbook that was last really taken off the shelf in, right after the civil war. and that's passing laws to suppress the vote. the last time that playbook was taken off the shelf, it stayed off the shelf for 40 years.
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and we can expect that we will be dealing with this every single state legislative cycle til at least 2042 when this country becomes a majority people of color, and the far right wing has to figure out how to get along with swb somebody. but the reality is that that's why the work done here is so important. this isn't this year as much as 2015, as much as it's about 2024. what the right wing is fixated on is that they know latinos by 2024 will be a bigger voting bloc than black folks, and they'll have two big, empowered minority groups to be dealing with. they're trying to hold off the future, and as i said earlier, our job is what it has always been as a progressive movement, it is to make the future come faster than those folks think is possible. >> definitely. [applause] and, ben, what you said about the state-level work is also true on women's rights. >> yes. >> that's really where we're seeing the most incredible rollback. >> and to just be really clear,
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right, that's why voting -- you know, voting rights needs to be like your second most important thing. whatever is your one big thing is your one big thing but understand that the far right wing really understands -- >> yes. >> if they get this in, they're taking that out too. so they're coming after this in order to make it harder to, for planned parenthood to push its agenda at the state level, to make it harder for sierra club and greenpeace, for naacp. if we don't understand that, then we can't be about one thing anymore, that we all have to be about at least two things, this will be that one strand that they pull, and our whole sweater of rights protections falls apart. >> yes. [applause] and maybe the third thing is money in politics. and so, karen, you're going to talk about your experience building a campaign in new york and lessons learned and victories and setbacks and all the rest. the unvarnished truth. >> i'll give -- i don't know if we have time to do all of that. >> in about five minutes.
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>> five minutes. i want to talk, so i said before we work on fair elections, creating a small donor matching system in new york to change our campaign finance system. and like ben was just saying, we thought it was important we linked that to every issue people are fighting on, and we created a broad coalition, well over a hundred organizations including all the organizations at this table that are dedicated to the campaign. and it was the environmental organizations in the state made it one of their top priorities, the tenant and housing organization, recall of the progressive labor organizations made it a campaign for their -- priority for their campaigns, and the breadth of the cohiggs was really phenomenal and the first time we've seen that kind of coming together around an issue of democracy like this. and i hope we're going to expand it into the voting rights efforts going into 2014 in new york as well. because that's going to be equally as important. so i want to kind of -- there's a lot of different things to tell that are both interesting and he is softens learned from the campaign -- lessons learned
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from the campaign, but i want to start with the tactics we used. one of the interesting things, it was also the campaign where we really used everything we could possibly think of to do and did it in one way or the other in the hopes of putting this issue over the top. and when we started the campaign in 2012, we kind of died in the 2012 legislative discretion quickly, and we knew before we got the 2013 legislative fight, we had to prove this was an election issue not just a good government issue or something a few people would care about and nobody else would understand. we had to prove to the legislators to and to the goverr that someone could win or lose based on where they stand on democracy and campaign finance. so since the national working families party helped recruit, train, develop and direct the state senate campaign, an open senate seat created by the senate republicans as a new district as part of their gerrymandered redistricting process, they created an additional 63rd district just to make sureeyoul't lose
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their majority. and we went into that gerrymandered district, and we worked to elect a woman who was a farmer and a school board member -- [applause] people know we won. and she was a strong champion of fair elections for all the reasons we've talked about. and we made her -- she made her campaign, and we made her campaign heavily about that issue, the need to clean upal albany and to have a new campaign finance system, and friends of democracy, which i think there's a panel tomorrow morning in more detail, also came in with a heavy campaign completely focused on elections. cwa came in focused on outsourcing in this a really important bill that the republican candidate has voted against. and the combination of those huge efforts with field activities put together by the working families party and citizen action meant that we won the campaign on election day, lost in the -- [inaudible] and finally won by 18 votes in the final recount several months later. [applause]
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and it, the issue of fair elections became such an issue in the race because when the republican candidate saw that hundreds of thousands of dollars were being spent to say that the democratic candidate was for fair elections and he was against it, he thought this was a great issue for him. he was like, huh, i can beat her on this. nobody believes on spending taxpayer money on elections, so he actually spent more money running on the issue than we did saying -- he called it the.cece tax, and we were able to go into the 2013 fight saying, look, voters do actually care about this, even in a republican district designed for this guy, we were able to run a race on issue. when we get to the lessons of where we go from here when we have not quite won yet, we have to go back to the elections as another way to look at accountability. so we started off -- or in the middle we had a big electoral strategy. we came to the legislative
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session, and we figured that we had to have a very aggressive campaign that would use every tactic in the book, and we made sure that each partner group did what they were good at doing. so the policy groups wrote research reports that showed the action between money and legislation. the online groups did petitions. the new media groups did twitter rallies, citizen action and other actions at senate offices. the cwa had their members out door to door. we had the canvassers create a tumbler that this was the idea we got from washington citizen action where at the doors instead of collecting petition signature, they took a picture of each person at the door holding up a sign that said, dear senator: stop corruption. people who they knew were their voters, we created the tumbler with it, every night the canvas sent an e-mail with all the pictures to each senator. i think it was really way more
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effective, and we kept promoting those pictures in lots of different ways throughout the campaign. we had lawn signs. we did a ben and jerry's ice cream giveaway at the capitol with the stamp that ben cohen's done, real money with a stamp that says not to be used for bribery. we had the lobbyists for the unions and the other traditional lobbyists, celebrity videos, we had groups that were outside the formal coalition that could go a little farther. there were tons of creative actions by occupy, the 99 rise group including hundreds of banner drops from bridges and highway overpasses on scheduled days where everyone driving in new york would see these banners. one day they did a money drop, they took money from the senate galleries, dropped money down to the senate floor to dramatize the role of money in voting on the senate floor. represent us came to the state and their $100 bill costumes, did a bunch of creative actions. we noticed last week that the
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dccc at the paul simon fundraiser, and finally this week a rally that did civil disobedience, blocked the door of our conservative democratic caucus because of their refusal to let our bill come to the floor, and 21 of us got arrested, and that really sort of heightened the attention and drew attention to the fact that our bill just not only was the fair elections bill being blocked, so was the women's equality bill, the stop and frisk bill, the dream act, all of the issues were all being blocked by a combination of the republicans and the conservative democrats. we have this weird senate where we've got 33 democrats and 30 republicans, but the conference only has 27 people in it because six of our democrats have decided to work with the republicans. so that's been an incredibly frustrating process for us. >> two minutes. we want to leave time for questions. i'm sorry, i don't want to rush you. >> we now need to hold these conservative democrats accountable. last night we had a procedural vote to try to bring this to the
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floor finally where the democrats did what's called a hostile amendment. we lost the procedural vote by two votes. had we had even 32 out of the 33 democrats, we would have won. there's one democrat who never votes with the democrats. two of the democrats chose not to vote for us. four of them voted with us but only because they knew we were going to lose. this was after spending the whole session not letting the bill come to the floor. so we know now we need to hold them accountable and, to be honest, our champions need to be more committed to getting this done. we've got to elect progressives to office and hold them accountable, and i want to bring this up, maybe in the questions, we can get more into this. in the democratic primary, it's not a lot of voters, and a very large percentage of those are part of the e-mail list that one of you controls. and if we combine the e-mail lists with the grassroots troops that we can put on the ground, naacp, cwa, greenpeace, that field work on the ground almost
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cant fail to win primaries if we work in a focused way together against these conservative democrats and force them to take us seriously. [applause] >> all right, thank you so much. and that's really important because we're dealing with, we have the most leverage with conservative democrats, and they may be our biggest problem when you think about it. we want to take some questions, and i'm looking for kendra who i think has -- there you are -- who has a microphone. is raise your hand, and she will give you the mic, and you will talk to us. well, i see someone up here. come on, you guys. i cut off these amazing people just to give you time to talk. [laughter] >> don from ohio.
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don from ohio, no? my name is don from ohio, and i was at brooklyn in the '60s -- >> [inaudible] >> we can repeat it back, too, if we can -- >> here. >> okay. i was born in california, i went to berkeley two years in the '60s, i was active in politics. i didn't do anything for 40 years. and then i got involved in ohio from the kerry campaign in 2004 in the democratic party was really anemic. and the question i asked was what are you doing for education in democracy? and i ask the people on this panel, because we need an understanding -- i think we need an understanding, an education
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in democracy across the citizenship in order to bring about the necessary changes. >> thank you. who wants to take that? >> well, you know, the last year we started a conversation in earnest with generations of voters in this country who really, um, didn't understand what voting rights were when you got right down to it. didn't understand how they could be eviscerated. people who were inclined, like in minnesota where the polling voter idea was 80% when we started, and together a bunch of the groups represented here and many others like the certain for community change figured out that if we just talk to folks it went from 80% to 70% to 60% to 50%, and then we won. we defeated et at the ballot box. so the most important thing
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we've decided to do as a movement in the last year or two is to make this fight visible, is to talk about what's going on, is to really engage people and say, okay, yeah, we know that your idea's up-to-date, but what about your kid? the one who's in college? is the id that he carries in his wallet, is that his home address where you are or the one where he's in school? buzz he ain't going to be -- because he ain't going to be able to vote at school with that id if this goes through. but the other thing that membership organizations like many of those represented here do is we educate our members regularly. we are old institutions that come from a different time. naacp's over a hundred years old, for example. and i think one of the powers of these old institutions that we often bemoan as being antiquated or what have you is they actually train people in how to lead and make a difference in a democracy just as a habit of being. i mean, that's just what we do.
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and one thing that i'm very afraid of is that what we found when we were going door to door talking about voting rights, you know, kids on 150 campuses across the one were calling to -- across the country were calling to report in is there have has been a real impact of basically the defunding of civics education in this country. and we need to understand the future of our progressive movement in many ways would be greatly enhanced if we got back to teaching kids about how government works. >> be another question? up here. we'll try again. >> my name's tyler. >> oh, give it a try, tyler. i think we can hear you. >> just speak real loud,
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brother. >> i'll do my best. i thought larry did a great job of sort of rallying the troops, and i just wanted to also mention that in addition to that -- [inaudible] >> we also have a huge fight on the fec. right now we have no commissioners on the fec, you know, this is obviously the agency that's overseeing campaign finance problems, so another sort of pillar in the fight for democracy movement. we actually just had two people nominated today. so i think, you know, that's just another sort of point that we should be remembering. and the other thing is i wanted to just mention that in addition to the important sort of changing the rules of the filibuster internally, we're also challenging through the courts to, you know, effectively say that the filibuster's unconstitutional. i'm just wondering if anyone up on the panel wanted to talk about alternative ways to address the filibuster.
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>> so common cause is active in that, i think, right? >> [inaudible] >> yeah. yeah. so is anybody here sort of expert on that? because i'm not, actually, on that common cause lawsuit. anybody out here expert on that? >> i believe the questioner is. >> yeah. [laughter] >> [inaudible] >> yeah. yeah. well, we supported that lawsuit, do support that lawsuit. i think the thing that you have a senate majority that can do this. the constitution makes it clear that the senate adopts its own rules which means by majority vote. and so that lawsuit has, you know, has some road blocks in it already. we're still supporting it, don't get me wrong. i think the easiest way to do this is, you know, senate resolution 5 would have gone a long way, and now we have an opportunity on the nominations
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that go at least a small way, including the federal election commission. so that's the, this is the fastest way to get that done. and, you know, we need to use nominations just as a springboard and then go on from there. but, yes, that would be another way to try to litigate it through the judicial system. >> okay. one more quick question. woman in the hat over there. >> [inaudible] can everybody hear me? [laughter] no, it's not. >> kendra's insistent. >> i wanted to ask, you know, we talk a lot about the netroots and outreach and stuff, but meanwhile we have this whole conservative media, fox news, people watch it. they believe it. we don't have anything like that, msnbc doesn't even have the reach. hike how can we -- like how can we reach people who aren't, like, where we're not already
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preaching to the converted? like, where can we reach people? you've got churches telling people how to vote, and i think a lot of americans really care about fairness, but it seems like we can't get the message out. there's all these people, they just live in their communities, they watch fox news, and they think we're evil. and how do we reach them? >> well, you know, part of it is that -- >> joan has the answer, right there. [laughter] >> yeah, right. but, you know, part of it is that we need to reach them where they live, right? one of the things that i teach young organizers is that, yes, this'll be a lot of people who degree with you on -- agree with you on everything and even more people who agree with you on most things, but almost everybody agrees with you on one thing, and you've got to start by figuring out what that one thing is and getting them to sign up on that one thing. when i sat down with governor
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mcdonnell and figured out we both believed in second chances and redemption and restored rights in a way that no governor had been willing to do in more than a century, that's what i was looking for. we need to engage that population of folks, looking for that one thing. when we do, it can have tremendous impact. i mean, in texas last year there were 12 progressive criminal justice reform bills passed that were supported by the naacp sort of identified politicians, ones that are close itself to us, and the tea party identified politicians because we both agree that the prison system is too big and that, for example, if drug rehab is seven times more effective dollar for dollar, then we need to be looking into that. in this year in texas there were 50 bills that went through. texas is now projecting to shut down its first prison ever. and that's because our folks, um, you know, through a vehicle
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called the texas criminal justice coalition a long time ago went looking for that one thing, and they found that one thing with a group that we notoriously disagree on almost everything with. so i offer that up. if we're going to build back sort of bipartisan consensus on so many different issue areas but especially on the principle of one perp, -- one person, one vote, we are going to have to do the hard work of reaching out and talking to our neighbors. that's how we got from 80% in support of voter id in minnesota last year to a majority opposed at the ballot box. that's how we got marriage equality through in maryland even though most folks said it was impossible. and that's why we have won so many other victories that people said just couldn't happen because we said, you know what? forget the pundits, we're going to go talk to our own neighbors ourselves. >> i guess moderator's privilege on this one since it's a media question. i mean, we do have msnbc to some extent which we didn't have ten years ago, and it does make a
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difference, but that's not enough. i would point to, you know, how netroots nation began, the blogosphere is crucially important. it's growing, it's vibrant. we have trouble, we all have trouble in the off years, in the nonelection years. our audience tunes back in in the election years, but there's also social media. i think social media and twitter is part of why paula deen quickly is out of a job for outrageous comments. and, you know, we saw it with defending planned parenthood, you know? when susan g. komen came after them, and in the end it was susan g. komen who suffered and manned participant hood who really thrived -- parenthood who really thrived. i don't despair. fox is a pox. yeah. [laughter] it's there. it's bad. but we've got so many resources, i just wouldn't leave this on a down note. and ben is also right that people to people and organizing
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and old-fashioned talking in our churches and in our schools is crucially important too. so thank you. you're such a great audience and what a great panel. give everybody a hand. >> with thanks, everybody. [applause] >> and thanks to tom udall who wouldn't be here. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> cwa, we're going to meet back in that corner, say hello to each other. [inaudible conversations] >> saturdays in july c-span radio is airing recorded phone conversations of president nixon from camp david during the summer of '72 talking with key white house advisers about the presidential race against south dakota senator be george mcgovern, the war in vietnam and watergate. the nixon tapes, saturdays at 6 p.m. eastern on c-span radio in washington, d.c. at 90.1 fm, nationwide on xm channel 119 and
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streaming c-span radio.org. next, a conversation about china with american author and journalist sidney rittenberg who was sent to china as a linguist for the u.s. army during world war ii. after the war's end, he remained in china for more than 30 years becoming politically active. he was imprisoned twice by the government for 16 years during china's cultural revolution for accusations of being a foreign spy. sidney raten egger is the co-author of the book "the man who stayed behind." the washington state china relations council hosted this one hour event in seattle. >> thank you, dennis, thank you, michael, thank you all for coming here. thanks for our sponsors, tbw and c-span. this is an event that a deb and i have been looking forward to from the first moment we heard about it. if you've been paying attention to china in recent decades or america's relationship with china, there's nobody you would want more to hear from than
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sidney rittenberg who we're going to be having this discussion with for the next few minutes. i think there's nobody who is, has the personal range of experience that sidney has had in knowing the leaders of china during its revolutionary rise, also experiencing its hardships during his years in prison. there's no one who has the intellectual span he's had as a early marxist and a believer in the chinese communist party in seeing how the country has evolved in the years since then. and no one who has the historical range he has of having been there before there was a people's republic of china and probably being in there where it's celebrating its 63rd and 64th anniversaries as a republic. and his engagement in the subject is even this morning, i sent sidney a note late last night saying i'm in in seattle, we should talk before this gathering, what should we cover, and i got this very detailed 19-point note that exceeds in subtlety and sophistication what you'll read in any of the

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